Internet Crimes Against Children

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ICAC

Internet Crimes Against Children

William Baughman

11/13/2012

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) is a task-force started by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 1998. Multi-jurisdictional with Federal, State and local authorities. Spanning all 50 states as well as partnered countries working in unison to protect children, teens and young adults against on line predators.



Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) is a task-force started by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 1998. Its primary goals are to provide state and local law enforcement agencies the tools to prevent Internet crimes against children by encouraging multi-jurisdictional cooperation as well as educating both law enforcement agents, parents and teachers. The aims of ICAC task forces are to catch distributors of child pornography on the Internet, whether delivered on-line or solicited on-line and distributed through other channels and to catch sexual predators who solicit victims on the Internet through chat rooms, forums and other methods. Currently all fifty states participate in ICAC.

The ICAC Task Force was created to help Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children. The Program is funded by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The ICAC Program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 3,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. These agencies are engaged in proactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions.

Children have always been vulnerable to victimization. Their trusting nature makes them perfect targets for perpetrators—both people they know and those they don’t. As children grow into adolescents, they remain vulnerable to victimization. Youths are often curious and eager to try new things. Many youth struggle with issues of rebellion and independence and seek attention and affection from people outside the home, often by using computers. Today, an estimated 100 million children are using the Internet. With so many children online, today’s predators can easily find and exploit them. For predators, the Internet is a unique, effective, and more anonymous way to seek out and groom children for criminal purposes such as producing and distributing child pornography, contacting and stalking children for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts, and exploiting children for sexual tourism for personal and commercial purposes. The nature of Internet crimes presents complex new challenges for law enforcement agencies and victim service providers with regard to investigating crimes, collecting evidence, identifying and apprehending offenders, as well as assisting young victims and their families. For example, victims and perpetrators are often separated geographically, which may hamper investigation efforts. Also, victims are often ashamed and reluctant to come forward, which makes identifying offenders difficult. These challenges are being addressed by federal and local law enforcement agencies, but there is still much to learn about preventing, identifying, and investigating Internet-based crimes against children. Traditionally, both interfamily offenders and strangers have found that young children and teenagers are perfect targets for criminal acts because they are often trusting, naive, curious, adventuresome, and eager for attention and affection. However, the most attractive factor to predators is that children and teenagers historically have not been viewed as credible witnesses. Today, the danger to children is even greater...
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